Albert’s Tree by Jenni Desmond
In this picture book, a young bear named Albert awakens from hibernation and goes to visit his favorite tree. However, something is wrong – the tree appears to be crying! Albert doesn’t understand. Along come some forest friends – a rabbit and a caribou, who offer ways to cheer up the tree, but they don’t work and the tree is still wailing. Finally, Albert decides that what the tree needs is a hug – he climbs the tree and wraps his bear paws around the trunk, asking, “Why are you crying, Tree?” The tree’s answer reveals the mix-up: it is a young owl in the tree who is crying because he’s afraid of “the big hairy monster.” Albert explains that there is no monster, just him, and Owl comes out. He and Albert play together and become friends, which makes Albert feel his tree is “twice as perfect as it had been before.” A sweet ending to an adorable story about friendship and not making assumptions about others. The illustrations add to the charm of the book: Albert is portrayed as cute and cuddly and there are beautiful, lush paintings of mountains and forest, suggesting a far North setting.